At the end of spring semester, students get ready to relax and have fun in the summer. Many students believe they have worked hard all year and deserve a break, a time to do nothing. While everyone deserves a break once in a while, some teens have found ways to enjoy themselves and continue learning. The following five teenagers set out to do more than just getting a driver’s license.

Marian Bechtel: Marian is a 17-year-old who became a finalist in the 2012 Science Intel Talent Search. Marian’s love of music provided the creative spark for the landmine detector she invented. By utilizing sound waves and a microphone equipped metal detector, Marian was able to build a prototype of her invention, creating an amalgamation of her love of science and her love of music.

Zac Sunderland: Zac is a 17-year-old who sailed around the world by himself. After 13 months, 28,000 nautical miles, pirates, and erratic weather, he finally landed in Marina del Rey, becoming the youngest American to sail around the world unassisted. Zac’s passion for sailing started when he was young boy; it led him to undertake this daunting challenge. He even paid for the boat himself!

Angela Zhang: Angela is a 17-year-old who found a cure for cancer. While doing her own research at a Stanford lab, Angela discovered that heating tumors injected with nanoparticles containing medicine caused the nanoparticles to melt, releasing the cancer killing chemicals into the tumor. Her research earned her $100,000 in the national Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology.

Taylor Wilson: Taylor is a 17-year-old who, at the age of 14, became the youngest person to create a nuclear fusion reactor. His love of radioactivity and desire to fight terrorism prompted him to find a lower cost method of detecting radiation; he succeeded and is in the process of securing a patent. He has won a $50,000 prize for the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, had meetings with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Energy, and hopes to test his prototype radiation detector worldwide.

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Samantha Garvey: Samantha is an 18-year-old who, despite being homeless, became a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search. Over the past two years, she has measured and analyzed the shells of mussels in Flax Pond. Her observations indicated that mussels living in the vicinity of crabs have thicker shells. To test whether this was an adaptation of all mussels, Samantha designed an experiment that put crabs and mussels in proximity but not contact; the results showed that the mussels were capable of growing thicker shells only when crabs were nearby. Samantha’s determination in the face of personal hardships has garnered the attention of the nation. She has been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and attended President Obama’s State of the Union address.

These five teenagers show that a person’s passion, whether it is sailing or science, is the best source of inspiration. No matter what topic interests you, you can find a way to be creative and involved. What are YOU doing this summer?

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